What does Musical Futures mean for the classroom?

Musical Futures brings non-formal teaching and informal learning into the more formal music classroom.

What do these terms mean? We have defined them as:

  • Formal Learning – Content delivered via a teacher directed approach, in a setting such as a classroom
  • Non-formal teaching – Skill acquisition gained through practical application, teacher as musical leader, in a setting such as a classroom or community context. For example, classroom workshopping and whole class performance.
  • Informal Learning – Students acquire skills and know-how via collective decisions and endeavours, with teacher/practitioner as facilitator, in any context – in or out of school. For example, students play music they like with their friends in groups

Musical Futures is underpinned by clear pedagogical principles, based on the way that popular musicians learn.

From these values and principles, a range of classroom approaches have been developed spanning the breadth of young people’s musical learning journeys:

Myth-busting Musical Futures - the learning journey

Time-pressed teachers are often looking for a scheme of work, particularly on a Sunday afternoon! While Musical Futures provides a range of resources to support day-to-day classroom teaching, it is more than just a quick download.

Musical Futures encourages teachers and practitioners to reflect and consider their own practice, making it more student-directed, relevant and engaging, or to provide a catalyst for change for a new direction in music teaching.

Musical Futures is a series of models and approaches that can be personalised by teachers and schools to meet their needs and those of their students.

ALL of the original Musical Futures material, publications and resources around informal learning and non-formal teaching (around 200 resources) are still freely available and open source for anybody to access via the website. 

Any new material developed (and our training courses) do have a cost attached but this enables us to keep our network and ongoing programme of development going.

Our Premium Just Play Resource is included FREE as part of our Just Play training offer OR for immediate purchase and download for £110

New Just Play playalong tracks are available each half-term to download at an additional cost so there are always new and up-to-date resources to use with your students.

Musical Futures Models and Approaches:

Just Play

Just Play is the Musical Futures approach to developing instrumental skills at both primary and secondary stages of education from years 4 – 9.  It is supported by the Just Play Premium Resource – available free with training or for immediate purchase and download.


Informal Learning

A model of self-directed learning that aims to enhance student motivation, enjoyment and skill-acquisition in music lessons by tapping into the real-life learning practices of popular musicians.


Non-formal teaching

A range of approaches developed in classroom settings. These range from whole-group composing and improvising, classroom workshopping and small-group instrumental skill building through our band instrumental skills approach.


Find Your Voice

A practical, hands-on approach to embedding vocal work and mobile technology in the classroom. Students explore how music is constructed by breaking down music they like and engage with vocally before moving onto vocal improvisation and composing.


On Cue

OnCue is the Musical Futures approach to creative music-making. New resources combined with non-formal pedagogies (and practices) make On Cue suitable for use with any ensemble.  On Cue resources are available as part of our training offer.